COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Vaccination Timeline

The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine was delivered directly to McLean County the week of December 21, 2020. Vaccinations at long-term care facilities in McLean County are being done by Walgreens and CVS through a federal program. The federal vaccination program began vaccinating December 28, 2020.

Individuals in Phase 1a are currently eligible for the vaccine. The McLean County Health Department plans to have regular weekly vaccination clinics for Phase 1a. Other sectors and groups are planned to be vaccinated in the future. Please be patient as the McLean County Health Department will follow the guidance for priority groups provided by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) & Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Phase 1 (When supply of vaccine is limited)

  • Phase 1a: Health Care Personnel & Residents from Long Term Care Facilities
  • Phase 1b: Persons 65 years of age or older and essential frontline workers including first responders.

Phase 2 (When there is increased supply) Phase 2 is pending ACIP Recommendations, possible groups could include:

  • Critical infrastructure employees
  • People with moderate comorbid conditions

Phase 3 (Increased Supply) Phase 2 is pending ACIP recommendations, possible groups could include: 

  • Young adults aged 18-30
  • General population
  • Children (dependent upon a pediatric vaccine availability)

COVID-19 vaccine supply will increase substantially in early 2021, allowing greater distribution to the community. Recommendations for groups to focus on will broaden as vaccine becomes available, depending on characteristics of each vaccine, vaccine supply, and disease epidemiology. IDPH SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Planning Guide http://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccination-plan

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Emergency Use Authorization? How is safety taken into account?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for authorizing a vaccine for emergency use. Learn how they do this at https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/vaccines/emergency-use-authorization-vaccines-explained.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID-19?

None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development or in use in the United States, contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. However, the goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever and fatigue. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

How do vaccines work in our bodies? Are there different types?

Vaccines work by triggering an immune response from our body. Different types of vaccines can produce this response. Learn the details of how our bodies do this and the different vaccine types from the Center for Disease Control's website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/how-they-work.html.

What is an mRNA vaccine? How is it different from past vaccines we have had in the U.S.?

The current COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are authorized for emergency use in the United States were developed using mRNA technology, which is different from vaccines the U.S. has previously used. The Center for Disease Control's website explains more about what these are and how they work: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html?fbclid=IwAR0iMyaBDSeoXHRK4hgZvJkGpx-j-FsX8a5Fid2zJbA6D6tQ7TmXxd7ZnpI

If I already had COVID-19, should I get vaccinated?

Health officials recommend still getting vaccinated even if you already had COVID-19. As of now, research indicates natural immunity from COVID-19 lasts approximately 90 days, while immunity in those who have been vaccinated is so far at approximately 9 months (length of longest study). As clinical trials continue, we may see this immunity lasting longer.

Will getting a COVID-19 vaccine cause me to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests?

Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

When will I be able to get a vaccine? How will they be distributed?

It is anticipated that the initial vaccine supply will be limited, and therefore allocated to health care personnel and long-term care (LTC) residents and staff. LTC facilities in McLean County are receiving their vaccine allotments through a federal program administered by CVS and Walgreens. Phase 1a healthcare organizations are asked to email health@mcleancountyil.gov with their contact information to find out more information.

All the research indicates that I am a high risk for contracting COVID-19, yet I am not considered eligible for the vaccine yet. How is that fair? 

The vaccine manufacturers, CDC, and the state are all committed to getting the vaccine to everyone as soon as possible. ACIP is a group of medical and public health experts that develop recommendations on how to use vaccines to control diseases in the U.S. ACIP decides on vaccine prioritization recommendations by reviewing the FDA information, clinical trial data, and other information. Initially, the limited supply of vaccine will only be available to those determined to be most at risk of exposure to COVID-19. As the vaccine supply increases, more people will be added to those prioritized until it is available to the adult population at large. When vaccine is widely available, healthcare clinics, pharmacies, and drive-through and walk-through clinics will likely provide vaccinations.

How is a vaccine developed in the U.S.? What kind of regulatory process is there to determine if it is safe and effective?

The FDA regulates vaccine development and approval in the U.S. through a strict process. Read more on the steps between research and development to approval at https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/development-approval-process-cber/vaccine-development-101.

What is 'Operation Warp Speed'?

Operation Warp Speed is a partnership among the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense to help develop, make, and distribute millions of vaccine doses for COVID-19 as quickly as possible while ensuring that the vaccines are safe and that they work. The HHS website explains the partnership's goals and gives a timeline of events: https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/explaining-operation-warp-speed/index.html.

Read more on Illinois' vaccine preparedness on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s FAQ website at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccine-faq